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Latino immigration brings deadly new virus to the US


Chagas Disease was once contained to South America. It is spread by a beetle. It causes AIDS-like symptoms that can result in the infected person’s heart exploding. It was once absent in the US. Because of mass immigration, there is now 30,000 cases in the US.

From UK Telegraph…

A little-known life-threatening illness caused by blood sucking insects has been labelled the ‘new AIDS of the Americas’ by experts.

The parasitic illness called Chagas Disease has similarities to the early spread of HIV, according to a new study.

Similar to AIDS, Chagas is difficult to detect and it can take years for symptoms to emerge, according to experts writing in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

An estimated 10 million people worldwide are infected with most sufferers in Bolivia, Mexico, Columbia and Central America, as well as approximately 30,000 people in the U.S., reported the New York Times.

The disease – once largely contained to Latin America – has spread into the U.S due to increases in travel and immigration.

Due to the severity of the illness, the amount of people infected and the ability of prevention, Chagas is considered one of the Neglected Parasitic Infections, a group of five parasitic diseases that have been targeted by CDC for public health action.

Chagas commonly affects people in poverty-stricken areas and most U.S. cases are found in immigrants.

If caught early enough, the disease can be prevented with an intense 3-month drug treatment.

However, because of the lengthy incubation period and costly medication, Chagas is often left untreated.

Also known as the American trypanosomiasis, the disease spreads easily either through blood transfusions or, less commonly, from mother to child.

All blood banks in the U.S. and Latin America screen for traces of the disease.

Most blood banks in the U.S began screening for it in 2007.

Chagas is usually transmitted from the bite of blood-sucking insect species called Triatome bugs which release a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi into the victim’s bloodstream.

The species includes Triatomids – black wingless beetles about 20mm in length commonly known as ‘kissing bugs’. Their closest relative is the Tsetse fly, found in Africa, which spread Sleeping Sickness (where the victim’s brain swells).

Chagas disease comes in two phases – acute and severe.